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Masterpiece Theatre Introduces Masterpiece Classic, Masterpiece Mystery! and Masterpiece Contemporary

In January, 2008, Masterpiece Theatre will introduce a new look, new scheduling, and the first of three new hosts for 2008. Gillian Anderson, well known to Masterpiece Theatre fans for her Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated performance as Lady Dedlock in Bleak House, will make her debut as the host of Masterpiece Classic on The Complete Jane Austen, the highly anticipated showcase of all six of Austen's novels, premiering Sunday, January 13, 2008 on PBS.

"Gillian is the perfect choice to represent the new Masterpiece Classic," says executive producer Rebecca Eaton. "Through Bleak House, we learned just how passionate she is about the kind of programming we offer. And she's incredibly versatile: How many other actors would choose to go from The X-Files to Charles Dickens?"

"I am a huge supporter of Masterpiece Theatre and the quality and integrity of its programming," said Anderson. "And if my hosting the first season brings a new generation of viewers to the classics, then I'm proud to be a part of it."

A new Masterpiece Classic host is not the only change coming to the series in January. Viewers can look forward to a schedule that breaks the year into three "seasons," each with its own host, stunning graphics, and fresh take on the series' famous theme music. In winter and spring, Masterpiece Classic will feature signature period dramas. In summer, Masterpiece Mystery! will present the best British mysteries, and in fall, Masterpiece Contemporary will show dramas set in modern times.

"Our viewers told us that they miss having a host to lead them into the programs," said Eaton. "In 2008, we're going a step further, bringing on three hosts to the series — each with a true appreciation for the genre they represent. We'll also introduce a new, elegant on-air look, a redesigned, feature-rich website, and a schedule that will help make our content easier to find. What won't change is the caliber of our programming."

Anderson will present the ten programs in the first Masterpiece Classic season, including adaptations of all six of Austen's novels plus a new biopic; Cranford, a three-part miniseries starring Judi Dench; My Boy Jack, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Kim Cattrall; and a new adaptation of A Room with a View by Andrew Davies.

Hosts for Masterpiece Mystery! and Masterpiece Contemporary will be announced in 2008.

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Gillian Anderson